For a decade now and with a surprising increase during the last years, I tend to encounter a lot of words used without any interest for their basic definition, thinking only about creating or increasing some “wow” factor. Those words I keep seeing? Exclusivity, Groundbreaking, Revolutionary, Unique, Innovation, … While at some point this tendency was limited to marketing (and which is part of well… their job), this spread to the general public (and I fell for this several time too).
Everytime it happens, it’s usually based on the fact that we don’t have a sufficient knowledge of the subjects, or didn’t do enough research, so we tend to use them because, from what we know they’re exact. This is a common problem in our times, where we’re all having trouble saying that we don’t know.
It then creates a false narrative and an unnecessary fuss around things that are perhaps non ground-breaking. But at least, this is caused by a simple slip of the language based on not enough facts, and we all tend to fall for it. Be it when we advise this “revolutionary” app, or that we tend to proclaim something as “unique in the world” (something that tends to happen a lot in the French market, where we have a remarkable blindness to everything non-French-speaking that is happening in the world).
The problem for me happens when we tend to fall for the marketing jargon and to defend sayings that are not our own, through the only window we were provided. Or worst, when we tend to reframe this window to be smaller and smaller, just to justify the use of a word that we simply shouldn’t use. Hence this app really is exclusive* (*in your language), revolutionary (*in your country, your neighbor have it since 10 years now), unique (*on your platform).
This is not “that bad”, but I tend to think that words have a meaning, and when we use those words in the wrong place we tend to reduce this meaning. And while the motto of the last years on every mouth has been “innovation” yelled clear and loud everywhere, it’s rarely true (nor based on anything). In a world where everyone is becoming an entrepreneur (which is neither good or bad), perhaps we should be a bit more honest, or picky in the choice of our words.
While not every idea is a revolution, you have plenty of other things you can promote your idea on, plenty of possibility that you offer that, while they’re not exclusive), provide a different/better experience for your audience. And this won’t require you to reframe any window while it might make you appear less “bullshit-prone” than any other idea out there.
“If you see fraud and do not say fraud, you are a fraud.”
— Nassim Nicholas Taleb (Antifragile)